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View Full Version : Open Heel vs. Full Foot fins, opinions please!



cwindrim
09-25-2007, 11:17
Hi,

Seems like an obvious question, but, well, for me isn't.

I've dived with open heel fins, but unless you have tough feet like a Kenyan marathon runner, it seems pretty clear to me that you need booties. Circumstantially, I've always had booties when using open-heeled fins, including my cert.

But if I'm going somewhere tropical, and most of my sound thinking says I'll rarely if ever dive anywhere but the tropics, wouldn't a full-foot fin be a better choice? What are some of the advantages/disadvantages of each?

Impressions and opinions greatly appreciated.

:smilie40:

CompuDude
09-25-2007, 11:33
Full foot fins are great in the right conditions. If you're ONLY diving from a boat in very warm water, with light (or no) exposure protection and light gear, they're very simple, lots of fun, and have great tactile feedback. I believe tests have shown they're darn fast, too, since they have a much more solid connection with the foot.

However, if your diving involves somewhat colder water, heavier gear, or shore entries where you may be walking over rocks, open heel + booties tends to be the wiser choice.

There is also the sidenote of hazardous marine life... fire coral, and most often, jellyfish, can be a really bad combination with full foot fins, since they offer little protection. I heard from one guy who actually managed to get a tiny jelly down into the foot pocket, and nearly tore his fin in two trying to get it off as fast as possible!

Soooo... full foot fins are great. But I wold carefully evaluate my conditions before committing to owning/bringing only one set of fins, which have some pretty serious limitations on conditions suitable for use. Open heel fins plus booties, on the other hand, can be used in ALL conditions. I've used mine on 48 degree wrecks with doubles, AND in 80 degree waters in the Caribbean. 7mm booties were fine in both places, incidentally, although of course I could have bought a lighter pair for the warmer location if I had really want to. It was fine, though.

quasimoto
09-25-2007, 14:26
Personally I would go with a open heel. Just easier to get on and off. MY lds uses full foot for the Discover Scuba and I always hated helping get the fins, on get them off, this fin doesn't fit. If they used open heel then it wouldn't be an issue. Get them in the ball park for the side and tighten them up.

If you don't want to wear a thick boot try a sock. Not sure who makes them but there are actual dive socks. I think they are about like a dive skin but for the foot.

divingmedic
09-25-2007, 14:56
There is also boat diving, one live aboard I did, you had to take your fins off before you got on the ladder to get on the boat, and some days the boat was rocking hard. It would be hard to get your fins off and keep them with you if they are full foot fins.

subsur
09-25-2007, 15:46
CompuDude answered really well. i would not dive in 48 F water with full foot fins though.

quasimoto
09-25-2007, 20:34
I agree with you there. I don't think would dive full foot fins in much less that 60 degrees let alone 48. But the OP was asking about tropical diving so I guess that doesn't apply.

Kidder
09-25-2007, 20:48
I think I'd go with the open heel. Much more versatile, full foot maybe fun if you have a little extra money to spend on a second pair.

Buoyant1
09-26-2007, 06:55
If they fit well go for it!... But I prefer the open heel because I can adjust them (well replace the springs) if needed...

cwindrim
09-26-2007, 11:06
Do you all use boots, or am I an overly delicate-footed diver?? My few dives since cert have all taken place in cold water where there is no option but to use boots, and looking back on my pool training I recall open heeled fins and bare feet being painful, especially on the top of your foot above the arch.

CompuDude
09-26-2007, 11:25
Do you all use boots, or am I an overly delicate-footed diver?? My few dives since cert have all taken place in cold water where there is no option but to use boots, and looking back on my pool training I recall open heeled fins and bare feet being painful, especially on the top of your foot above the arch.

Yes, you pretty much have to use boots with open heel fins.

wxboy911
09-26-2007, 12:46
I wear the open heel and if I got into a lot of warm water diving I may invest in some thinner boots-mine are 5mm now. I wore my 5mm back in July in the Gulf of Mexico and they did not seem too warm to dive. I guess you should try both and keep what you like.

dallasdivergirl
09-26-2007, 14:01
I have used both and the full foot fins left all sorts of nasty scrapes & bumps on my feet.

I will admit to owning 3 pair of booties :)

H088ES
03-06-2008, 21:17
I was actually wondering the same thing, and the responses were very helpful. Does wearing a neoprene sock help out that much with the cold when you are wearing full foot fins?

johnyringo
03-06-2008, 21:30
I use both full foot AND open heel...of course, not at the same time. open heel for cold water and shore diving. Full foot for warm water, boat diving. The up side to full foot fins is they're lighter, easier to put on and take off, and it means two less pieces of gear to deal with (boots that never seem to dry, and no matter what you do get funkier as the week goes by). And I think they do give a little more power to your kick...o.k. maybe I'm just imagining that but it sure feels like it. OH, as for blisters, I get one in the same place every time so I put a piece of tape there. One application lasts all day, end of problem.
Hope this helps a little.
Good luck!

BuzzGA
03-06-2008, 21:47
I've used both and prefer the open fins. They are easier to get on and off and if you get something in them its just easier to fix

abcitydiver
03-07-2008, 02:10
with open heel fins, you actually more options than with full foot:
use a neoprene sock to ovoid some over-rubbing of the fin on your skin, add a touch of warmth (depending on how thick, and how well they fit)
use a light boot/flexible sole for a bit for protection inside the fin, better grip on slippery decks, etc
use a good sturdy boot with a strong sole, zippers and molded protection..
and you get a warmer environment for your feet, better ankle and foot support for walking rocky beaches and swaying ladders, and often a better transfer of power to the fin from the foot.
I've never been too warm with either a light soft boot, or a heavier boot, even in tropical waters of 81 degrees.
As with everything....its all about personal preference, fit ....function and of course...style ;-)

Trey9123
03-11-2008, 22:57
I have full foot fins. I have only dove from NC south, but have never regretted my full foot fins. I bought some 1mm DeepSee neoprene socks to wear under them. They work fine on a boat and take the edge off when entering even over rocks. Before I bought them I tried a set of open heel, and I felt like my foot was sliding all over the place. I like the feel in the water of the full foot much better and that is what mattered to me. Plus they are about $50 cheaper and you do not have to buy boots.

carriersanders
03-12-2008, 20:42
I also have full footers and have no complaints. I love how natural they feel on my feet. I too wear booties inside of mine and they keep my feet warm and make the fit of the fin really snug.

lmorin
03-12-2008, 21:50
Full foot fins are lighter and appear to be more efficient for swimming. The biggest positive, in my view, of openheel fins is the ability to take them off quickly and easily, then with one smooth motion, slip each over one hand/wrist, leaving both hands free for climbing a boat ladder. Have to pass full footers up to the DM. My wife dives with full footers and just bought a very lightweight water shoe (more of a slipper with a tough sole) to wear on shores with sharp rocks. She'll just tuck them in a BCD pocket for the dive. Neither is better; it's a matter of personal preference.

Marcus
04-08-2008, 04:37
Open heel is a better option for sure for most circumstances. I guess full foot is fine for going off a soft sandy beach. Otherwise, open heel gives more options for fit and function.

jimmytaroh
04-08-2008, 05:18
If you can find comfy full foot fins, nothing better in my humble opinion. Much better feel, power, convenience. No stinky booties, lighter, smaller, easier to pack, more power (in general). But depending on your foot size, may take some time to find a comfy fit in a fin that suits you.

For warm water diving I think full foots rule.

CompuDude
04-08-2008, 13:00
If you can find comfy full foot fins, nothing better in my humble opinion. Much better feel, power, convenience. No stinky booties, lighter, smaller, easier to pack, more power (in general). But depending on your foot size, may take some time to find a comfy fit in a fin that suits you.

For warm water diving I think full foots rule.

Depends on what sort of warm water diving. Your points are all valid, if you're diving off a soft, sandy beach or boats, exclusively. And in areas that don't have a lot of stinging organisms like jellyfish.

If you're in an area where you need to protect your feet from sharp rocks (or even overly hot sand!), or that has jellyfish (you do NOT want a small jelly stuck in your bare foot pocket!), open heel plus booties offer better protection.

RikRaeder
04-08-2008, 20:22
I got open heel since I can where them anywhere. As others have mentioned, with full-foot you're stuck in the tropics. God, I wish I were.